Tools that make me fast and productive

chinchang profile image Kushagra Gour Updated on ・2 min read

I have been asked a lot of times how am I able to take out time to do so many side-projects, play musical instruments, draw etc apart from regular day job schedule. There are a lot of things that helps you achieve that, but one of them certainly is the tools you use to do your job on a computer.

In this post, I attempt to list down the software tools I use specifically on my computer.

I work on a Mac OSX. So many of the below tools might be just Mac only.

Code Editor — Visual Studio Code

This is one of the most important tool for every software developer. The editor you code in and also your proficiency in it contributes a lot to your productivity.
I have been using Sublime Text for almost 5 years. I loved everything about it — its speed, packages, shortcuts! Until recently. Sublime Text development has been really slow, almost stagnant. Enter Visual Studio(VS) Code! VS Code is written on web technologies and hence is very customisable and its contributor community is growing very rapidly. To be specific, support of font ligatures actually made me switch from Sublime Text to VS Code and I have no complain so far.

Update: Font ligatures support has landed in Sublime Text 3 :)

Web Maker

If you are a frontend developer, this one is must have. This is a self-plug but I can’t emphasise enough how much Web Maker helps me in day to day stuff. Its a frontend playground that works offline and is super super fast! I use it to prototype things, experiment with new stuff and debug issues.


I can’t imagine life without this! Spectacles allows me to manage/position my windows inside mac to anywhere I want, all with a keyboard shortcut. I have seen people who do not have this ability on their machine and they struggle and waste a huge amount of time & effort in doing regular things. For example, positioning browser and its developer tools window and switching between them. Window management might sound a good to have feature, but trust me it helps a lot in doing faster coding, testing & debugging.


This is clipboard manager. So basically I never have to copy anything twice because I accidentally copied something else after that. I have all the history of my copied items, thanks to ClipMenu, which I can paste as and when required.


Its a powerful replacement for the default terminal app that comes inside Mac OSX. It provides very useful features likes profiles, triggers and various other customisations. I have oh-my-zsh installed on top of iterm for a super speedy experience.
Protip: z.sh is an absolute requirement for a quick folder switching inside the terminal.

These are some tools that I use the most. Though each person has his/her own choice of tools, I would still recommend to try the above ones and see if they can help you become more efficient in what you do.

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chinchang profile

Kushagra Gour


Creative Human. Lover of Web technologies.


markdown guide

iterm2 + oh my zsh + z is a superpower! :-)

I have been using Sublime since forever (before that TextMate and before that Emacs) and you're not definitely the first to rave about Visual Studio Code. I need to check it out. I need motivation though, changing text editor is such a monumental feat. You need to relearn shortcuts, muscle memory and so on.

Thanks for the article!


Install VSCode + Sublime Text Keymap extension on it - you have a better Sublime Text now! :)


Definitely have to try ClipMenu looks like I'm missing that one. I personally have atom on hand for basic stuff I need to do as I use Android Studio as an IDE. Jetbrains IDE's are definitely there on the top.


Thanks for sharing, And for us who are not terminal savy here is my summary list:

  1. Intellij Suite of IDEs - Idea as the generic one for Java/XML and others for web, Python, Android. I use Datagrip for database connections and management

  2. Iterm (of course)

  3. Atom - everyone needs a text editor at some point even for editing markdown and files not needing an IDE

  4. SimpleNote - sync my notes across all different sites

  5. Firefox Developer Edition (faster than the regular Firefox) + Chrome of course

  6. Mac - Homebrew and Cask package managers, you can install most of the software under the sun with dependencies managed for you

My current list of tools is ssmusoke.com/2017/02/06/11-tools-i...


Re: "Spectacles"
I agree it is quite useful (though its name is actually "Spectacle"). However, even better than positioning your windows, is not positioning your windows. Using a tiling window manager, Amethyst in my case, completely transformed my workflow. When you combine with it with multiple "Spaces" and the keyboard and mouse shortcuts for switching spaces, it is mind blowing. Now on the rare occasions I have to turn Amethyst off, my first reaction is "Why have my windows stopped reading my mind?"


I'll definitely checkout Amethyst! Thanks for suggesting Liam :)


Big ups on Web Maker, man. Looks pretty slick 😎

Just gotta add my 2 cents:

It's incredible. All my docsets available on or offline in one place. Very convenient.

I'm a command-line junkie most of the time, but sometimes it's nice to see all your commit history and branching in a nice slick gui.

I gotta be that guy. Just learn some of the basic navigational keybindings at the very least. Seriously. Pretty much every editor has a plugin to support Vim keybindings, not to mention browsers. It's just so much faster.


Same, I tried with vscode but I saw it like a ugly copy of atom. And I really don't trust in Microsoft at all, neither their OSS


Trust being keyword here. More and more software is becoming "subscription" based. M$ 2019: VSCode is now apart of Dev 365 subscription. :P

Unlikely to happen. Code's core is open source. MS just adds their branding on top of the tool. If they do put it behind a paywall (again, unlikely) it would be forked in no time.


Me too - although I haven't tried using VS Code.


I've recently become a VSC convert from Atom and I don't think there's anything that would make me switch back 😅


Come back to Atom 😭. It has a new mindfulness feature now. It basically freezes for 5 - 10 seconds to let your frantic mind become tranquil again. 😭 img


Yeah. Nothing that looks so in near future :)


Nice, I never used a Clipboard tracker, as a security threat, but in rest are the same tools I used when working on Mac.

I see WebMaker as a nice tool for the devs that are starting to learn web too.

Today I released a similar article, with the tools I use, mostly web services, but the #1 is still VSCode :)


Thanks for this list. Spectacle just made the mac I am using much less frustrating especially for a mac newbie and long time windows user. Enjoying iTerm also...was already on the Visual Studio Code train.


Nice list! I would definietely add Kanban Tool (kanbantool.com ) as a great software that helps you become more productive and focused on your work. It allows you to schedule your tasks and track time you spend working on each one. It's an awesome way to stay productive and organized!


Hey all, one tool that I use to get fast QA tests is SnapTest - saves me countless hours at work both in generating tests and finding bugs.


I have been using Sublime Text since version 2 as my primary text and code editor. I have used VS Code on and off since the initial release almost 2 years ago. Not until recently that I have fully switched to VS Code. No more wasting so much time customizing every little details of my code editor before I am happy to write my first line of code. Learned a hard lesson in developer productivity I have seen over and over again developer spending unnecessary time bike-shedding on code editor/IDE settings for code style and formatting and what not. I think VS Code has the essential and modern features of a code editor out of the box that most developers need to write their code comfortably. VS Code achieved a balanced set of features so we don't have to go out immediately to look for third-party extensions. Yeah, I know, no one code editor can fit all developer's needs.


Thanks for posting! I am a fan of VSC too.
But I would love to see someone posting his Software who uses Linux or Windows. :)


Ask and ye shall receive. From the perspective of a Linux-using backend/db developer...

  • Komodo Edit: I prefer a more traditional editor but without the bulk of a full IDE.
  • Meld: Side-by-side file and directory comparison.
  • Guake Terminal: Quake-style, drop-down, tabbed terminal.
  • GitKraken: Git client.
  • Draw.io: Sometimes a diagram speaks louder than words; web-based flow, UML, logic chart designer.
  • DbVisualizer: Database navigation, relationship mapping, basic querying; supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, and more.

With the exception of Guake, everything is cross-platform! :)


Thank you so much for sharing!

Draw.io seems extremly useful for me :) Cheer!


Alfred's powerpack has a good clipboard manager and some other neat features :)


For the ones on Windows10, a clipMenu altenative is builtin: [Win]+[V].


Do any of you guys have a copy of clipmenu.dmg ? Its website is working but the downloads are not.


I had already tried both dmg links on that page. I tried again, they are still inaccessible: dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/114064... and dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/114064... are still inaccessible. Also, apparently I'm not the only one with the problem: github.com/ClipMenu/ClipMenu/issue... and github.com/ClipMenu/ClipMenu/issue...


Web Maker looks great! I'll definitely try it out.


Iterm on my new MacBook bro!!! The best tool forever 🙌🙌🙌


Jetbrains suite is the only one that give my satisfaction under Linux.. Visual Code is not user friendly under Linux :/


Yeah, VS code is better than sublime.


For my fellow Windows users - Instead of ClipMenu I've used ClipX (bluemars.org/clipx/) with the "stickies" plugin for years now. It's a bit of a dated app, but it gets the job done.


As an alternative to ClipMenu, I'm using pasteapp.me/ 👍


Thanks for sharing. Recently started using VSCode. love at first sight


Do you have any suggestion for windows users?


XDiff - Great for merging files with simple shortcuts
Notepad++ - I love not having to save stuff, also great for xml formatting
SoapUI - free and powerful tool to test web services


Notepad ++ and Visual Studio when I’m working on Windows. But VSCode when I’m on the Mac.